Getting through a Group Interview

Topic: Group Interviews

There are two ways to think of group interviews: the sort where a group of prospective employees interview together, and the sort where a single hopeful hire faces multiple interviewers at once.

Interviewing alongside a group of people all vying for the same job can be daunting, as you get to see your competition firsthand. But it can also be a time to display strengths in a way that isn’t possible in traditional one-on-one interviews. Multiple interviewee interviews often involve a discussion around a theme central to the organization, which allows the interviewer interviewer to see how well each member works within a group setting. People who can’t help but try to dominate a conversation or shrink away from sharing their opinions show their true characteristics, characteristics that would traditionally not be seen until after the individual was already hired.

When in a group interview like this, make sure to speak up multiple times when you have something meaningful to add, but don’t monopolize the conversation. You can also show your ability to work well with others (even others trying to get the same job you want) by respectfully using the names of the other interviewees to begin your point: “I really agree with what Sam said, and I think if we were to take her point even further, we’d see that…”

It’s also important to simply realize what is going on – sometimes companies will not tell you straight up that an interview is even going on. I once was invited to interview at a non-profit company that started with a short video shown in a room with nine other people, followed by a group discussion, with individual interviews after. It was clear that a few of the people either had no idea that the interview had actually already begun, or were simply unable to hide their natures of wanting to dominate or not being able to speak up. Be on the watch for interviews in disguise, and always remember that you’ve been being interviewed from the moment you walked in the door.

Alternatively, many companies bring in one person for an interview with many employees at a company. This method can save time, as the interviewee doesn’t have to come back for more interviews with other people. It also allows the interviewers to share the experience of interviewing for ease of later discussion, and gives a shared sense of responsibility over the person who is ultimately hired, easing some of the pressure of the Human Relations department to hire the perfect candidate.

These sorts of interviews require the same standard interview preparation: study the company, brainstorm possible questions, and prepare a thoughtful list of your own questions. However, there are a few key differences to keep in mind.

First, expect a variety of personalities, and don’t try to alter yourself to suit all of them. Since this isn’t a one-on-one interview, it won’t work. Stay true to who you are and don’t attempt to match the style of one or more of the interviewers. Switching your way of talking and mannerisms might seem odd, and choosing one person to match could be disrespectful to the others, which leads to the second point: treat all the interviewers with the same level of respect.

Make sure to pay attention to the interviewers’ names and titles, but don’t use titles as a way to figure out who to direct your answers to. These sorts of group interviews, just like the previous sort, seem daunting and stressful, but are an opportunity to show skills of respect a certain amount of social courtesy that is not possible in a traditional interview. Make frequent eye contact with everyone as you answer your questions. It can be easy to direct your answer to the person who seems the friendliest or has the highest level title, but this can be a mistake. Although your potential boss’s boss might ultimately be calling the shots, they may be taking your potential future co-worker’s opinion extremely seriously, as they are the person who would be working you day to day. Forget about titles and who seems the kindest, and direct your answers back to everyone. When you send your follow up thank you note, be sure to address it to everyone, unless there were a large amount of people, in which case you can address it to the person who was in charge or set up the interview, but be sure to mention the others who were involved.

Although the two different types of group interviews can be tense and disquieting, they can actually be the perfect opportunity to display your ability to adjust to the unexpected, interact well in a team setting, and treat everyone with respect, regardless of their job title or if they are gunning for the job you want. Even if you’ve been told you’ll have a one-on-one interview with a certain person, group interviews can always be hidden somewhere in the process, and it’s important to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility, and be ready to turn a challenge into an opportunity.

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Acing a Dining Interview

Having an interview over lunch, dinner, or even breakfast adds a few different and often nerve-wracking elements to the traditional interview. Aside from simply answering questions, you are also being measured on your table manners, conversation and social skills, and how you handle being under pressure. The overall motive of an interview over a meal is for the interviewer to learn about you in a more personal way. Especially if you’ve never done a dining interview before, there are a few key things to prepare for other than the typical research of the company and brainstorm of interview questions you may be asked and questions you will ask.
First, make sure you have all the information you need about your interview. If you were simply given the name of a restaurant, make sure that there is only one location, and if there are more, ask the person who set up the interview for an address so that you don’t go to the wrong place. If you’re unfamiliar with the restaurant and won’t have time to check it out before your interview, you can ask if the restaurant has a dress code and what it is.
If possible, go to the restaurant beforehand so you can plan your trip to arrive a few minutes early, learn where the bathroom is, and figure out where you will wait for the interviewer. If it’s a more informal restaurant, there may be an untraditional system of ordering, such as ordering at a counter and then being seated. Learning about these things ahead of time will help you feel more at ease during the interview and, if your interviewer hasn’t eaten there before, you will have an opportunity to help them learn a new system, all before the interview has even started. You can also get familiar with the menu, though it’s likely that you can also do this online.
You should arrive a few minutes early, and after checking to see if your interviewer has checked in yet, wait for them at a lobby or vestibule. Don’t seat yourself or order a drink at the bar – wait for them outside the main area and meet them with a smile and a handshake.
It may be obvious, but make sure to follow basic dining etiquette. Don’t put your elbows on the table or chew with your mouth open, and put your napkin on your lap. If you need to leave your seat, put it neatly over the back of your chair or on the arm – not in a pile on the table. If bread is served, break it into small chunks, and if it’s a fine dining restaurant with lots of silverware, always start on the outside and work your way in throughout the courses. Also, be sure not to order finger food or anything messy, and always treat your waiter with respect.
Some people believe that you should order what your interviewer orders, but this isn’t necessary and may even be seen as trying too hard. Only order the same thing if you really want it, and, of course, if it’s not too messy.
Opinions also differ on if you should order alcohol. If the person interviewing you doesn’t order alcohol, you should steer clear as well. If they do, you can choose whether or not you’d like to. The type of job you’re interviewing for can help determine your decision: if you’re applying for a job where dining out with clients will be a regular occurrence, ordering a drink is more acceptable, and could even be an opportunity to show that you can stop after one and still conduct yourself well. Under no circumstances should you drink any more than what will make you completely able to answer the questions well.
Allow the interviewer to pay for the meal, including the tip. This is to be expected, but you should still thank them for the meal. This is something you can put in your thank you note, which you should still send.
Dining interviews are overall about getting to know you in a more personal setting, and it’s incredibly important to remember this throughout, no matter how much it starts to feel like lunch with a friend. Don’t ramble, don’t get too personal, and don’t ask your interviewer personal questions. Keep it as professional as you would during a traditional interview with a desk between you and the interviewer. Do your best to think of all the other rules you’re following as an opportunity rather than a stressor: a dining interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your sociability, your manners, and your professionalism in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible until after you were hired. Prepare properly to use a dining interview to your advantage.

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Interview Questions-in-Disguise

Ever since the first time you answered “So, why do you want to work at the movie theatre/McDonalds/Target?” as a teenager, you’ve probably learned the ropes around answering basic interview questions. Those same few questions that are standard in any interview quickly become mere dialogues to churn out at a moment’s notice. But what about that one question that is so unexpected that all you can do is stare blankly at the interviewer as you frantically try to figure out what on earth s/he could be looking for?

Most people come prepared to defend and expand upon everything in their resume. Which is why the question “so, tell me about something you’re proud of that’s not on your resume,” can be especially daunting. A typical reaction is the feeling that you’ve already put all the really amazing things that you’re proud of on your resume. But that, of course, is simply not true. And other than yet one more chance to talk yourself up, there’s a ton you can do with this question. You can show that you’re passionate and committed to everything you lay your hands on, outside of work included (“I practice the cello for an hour a day, no matter how many hours I work”). You can prove that you’ve got a solid grasp on how to maintain a work-life balance (“I always make time to run and do yoga, since finding some release helps me stay happy and focused on my work”), or that you are pushing yourself to grow and develop (“I’m not the greatest writer, but I keep up a blog just to get the practice in and push myself to expand.”)

Never forget that each question is a chance to sell a unique personal quality that doubles as an example of why you’d be a great employee. You just have to take a few seconds to take a deep breath, and think about what you’ll say and how to casually spin it to reflect on your ability to be an amazing employee.

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Is There a Job Interview Question That Trips You Up?

Some people struggle to come up with a good answer when asked about their weaknesses. Others stare blankly at the interviewer when asked to “tell me a little about yourself.” Almost all of us can identify at least one job interview question that always seems to catch us flat-footed. Now imagine you had a chance to see a successful candidate handle that question with poise and skill. How much would that be worth to you?

Learn How to Nail Almost Any Job Interview Question

Here at Zoom Interviews, we offer a comprehensive set of job interview videos so you can see a variety of ways to handle your least favorite job interview question. For less than $25.00, you can purchase three-month access to 51 job interviews as well as our interviews guide, Zoom Notebook, and Zoom Method. With all that preparation, you’ll have a huge edge over the competition!

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Continue with a Job Interview Even if You Might not Accept the Job?

Are you looking for a job? I’m pretty sure you have already exhausted a lot of time and effort looking for job openings, submitting applications and doing job interviews. If there is one thing I can generalize about job hunting, it’s that no prospective job is a sure job unless you are already formally hired. A lot may change in a few days or weeks; initially you may be a top contender for a job, but after a few days somebody else may get the job instead. There are so many variables involved in getting a job that it’s very difficult to predict the outcome, which is why having other options that you can fall back on is ideal.

So if you have an interview for a job that’s not really what you want, should you go for it?

Take as Many Job Interviews as You Can

I say jump on it—and employment experts tend to agree. Any potential job is an opportunity, so don’t waste it! You’ll never know if you’ll land that dream job—and if you don’t, you’ll want some back-up opportunities, especially if you’re having financial difficulties and landing a new position is a must. Interviewing for a job you may not want and may not even get offered may sound like a waste of time, but it can save you from a lot of agonizing ‘what ifs’ in the future in case you can’t get that job you were aiming for.

Job Interviews Might Save You In the Future

Not only will interviewing for a job give you extra options for employment, there are other benefits in doing so as well. Going on a wide variety of job interviews gives you experience with the flow of the process, and in how to behave and act while being interviewed. This will help you gain confidence in interviews and will be very helpful for future job prospects.

In addition to confidence and experience, you’ll also get noticed by the companies you meet with.  Then, should you get an offer you decide not to take, decline it in the most professional way possible.  How you choose to decline a job offer will leave behind a lasting impression.  Do it well, and the company may even contact you regarding future openings.

In looking for jobs, having a number of job options to choose from will mean that you have a very good chance of landing a much-needed job.  So don’t waste any chances; go ahead and interview for that position you think you don’t want.  Who knows? It might be a job you end up loving.

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Interview Videos with Successful Candidates Teach You How to Handle Yourself

There’s an old joke about how medical students learn complicated procedures: “See one, do one, teach one.” We’re not sure how well it works for appendectomies, but when it comes to interviewing for jobs, it’s actually not a bad strategy. Whether you’re applying to an MBA program or seeking your first job, watching interview videos with successful applicants can give you a good idea of what employers or members of admissions committees are looking for. Seeing one or more videos can make you that much more self-confident when you’re actually across the desk from an interviewer.

Oops! Avoid Common Mistakes by Watching Zoom Retakes Interview Videos

Zoom Interviews has identified 15 questions that job candidates often answer incorrectly. We have put together interview videos that show the errors and then discuss better ways to answer the question. Arming yourself with this information can make the difference between getting the job and getting a “better luck next time” letter. If you want to learn how to make the best possible impression during an interview, trust Zoom to teach you.

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ZoomInterviews Helps You Come Up with Good Answers to Tough Interview Questions

We’ve all been there—sailing along in an interview and doing so well you can practically picture how you’ll decorate that corner office. Then it happens. Your interviewer hits you with one of the toughest interview questions you’ve ever heard in your life. Goodbye, corner office, you think, as you stammer out a nonsensical answer.

Watch How the Pros Handle Interview Questions

 Here at ZoomInterviews, we know it can be easy to get thrown for a loop when you’re faced with difficult interview questions. That’s why we offer a three-month subscription which will give you access to 51 videos to prepare you for anything an interviewer can throw your way. Learn about strong answers to challenging questions, and find out why some answers will get you the job while other answers are a one-way ticket to the front door. We’ve spent years learning all the ins and outs of interviews, and for just a small price, you can benefit from our insights and get the job you want.

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Your First Job Interview Question and Answers

Even if you have nerves made of steel, you’re likely to find yourself wavering a little bit at your first job interview as questions and answers start flying. If you’ve never been through an interview before, you may have trouble guessing which questions the interviewer will ask and which answers she wants to hear. You can ease your fears and gain a valuable advantage over your competitors by arranging a mock interview through ZoomInterviews.

Schedule a Mock Interview to Help with Tough Interview Question and Answers

 A mock interview is an hour-long interview conducted over phone or Skype. The interviewer reviews your resume and takes you through a series of typical interview question and answers. At the end of the mock interview, the interviewer offers detailed and insightful feedback to help you give stronger replies that are more likely to help you get the job that you want. You shouldn’t ever have to guess at an interviewer’s motives…we’ll help you figure it out and tell the interviewer exactly what he or she wants to know.

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Which Job Interview Question Do You Dread the Most?

Nobody loves going through the interview process to get work, but most people can pick out one job interview question that they dislike above all others. Maybe it’s the question about describing a time when you failed or succeeded, or maybe it’s the one about where you want to be in five years. Other people get hung up on selecting a “best boss” or a “worst boss.” Whatever your issue, ZoomInterviews can help you work through your anxieties and give a stronger answer.

We Can Help You Take On Your Most Feared Job Interview Question

 Here at Zoom Interviews, we offer a large selection of video interviews to show you how to nail each job interview question. If you want advice on the entire interview, you can rent access to all of the videos for up to three months. On the other hand, if there really are just one or two questions that get you in trouble, you can rent just the video responses to those questions. There’s no reason for anything an interviewer might ask to scare you. We’ve got your back.

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What Type of MBA Interview Questions Can You Expect?

One of the reasons people get anxious about interviews is that they fear the unknown. Walking into an admissions interview cold, with no idea what the selection committee is looking for, is enough to make anyone shudder. ZoomInterviews can give you lists of the most common MBA interview questions and tips about how successful candidates have dealt with them. A few things you might expect to be asked, for instance, include

  • “Why should we admit you?”
  • “Why would you like to attend our school?”
  • “Tell me about a successful leadership experience you’ve had.”
  • “Tell me about a time when you’ve failed.”

Get Access to Full-Length Interviews to prepare for MBA Interview Questions

Knowing what types of questions you may be asked is helpful in your preparation process, but we recommend that you also subscribe to our comprehensive list of full-length interview videos as well as to our list of the 50 most frequently asked MBA interview questions and answers. The more time you spend preparing, the better your odds of getting into the program you want. Let ZoomInterviews help you with that preparation.

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